The latest Quality of Service study (QoS) released by the telecom regulator ranks Airtel as the leading data speed provider with slightly above 14 megabits per second (Mbps).
According to the Uganda Communications Commission, the QoS was carried out to determine telecom performance in blocked call rates, success and dropped call rates as well as data speeds described as throughput.
Data throughput put simply means speed.
The report released last week indicates that the telecoms registered the highest speeds in rural areas while the urban and peri- urban have slower speeds.
Speed in different areas
The Airtel network, the QoS shows, was the quickest in nearly every jurisdiction.
For instance, whereas Airtel in Soroti, Mityana, Kitgum and Moroto had an average speed of 14mbps, MTN was slightly above 4mbps in Soroti, below 2mbps in Kitgum, around 3mbps in Mityana and 4mbps in Moroto.
With Africell, a subscriber would download a file at 3.8mbps in Soroti, 5mbps in Kitgum, 3.9mbps in Mityana and 5.8mbps in Moroto.
However, Airtel registered lower speeds in Masaka, Mukono and Entebbe all places in which MTN registered slightly higher speeds.
Airtel Africa last year embarked on an exercise aimed at boosting the telecom’s infrastructure to upgrade its internet. The company rolled out 4G sites in Uganda and most of the other countries in which it operates.
In its third quarter results running to December 31 2019, Airtel said it registered increased revenue due to a surge in the company’s data revenue and subscribers.
In 2019, Mr VG Somasekhar managing director of Airtel Uganda, told Daily Monitor that the telecom’s total investment was more than $800 million (Shs2.9 trillion), growing the number of mast sites to 1,630 across Uganda.
However, UCC downplayed the results saying the study is indicative of a certain period in which it is conducted which can be affected by different reasons such as fiber cuts among others.
The regulator also emphasised that the results are not reflective of technological capacity such as 4G.
Meanwhile, all telecoms performed poorest in Kabale district registering speeds lower than 4mbps.
In Kampala, the average speed by all three telecoms is 6mbps and 4.7mbps for both Entebbe and Mukono.
UCC’s New standards
Data throughput which is making its first appearance on the QoS by UCC, is said not to have international standards set for telecoms which was limiting the regulator’s ability to hold telecoms accountable.
“The national broadband policy has specified certain standards; we are now talking about 4mbps around the country, upto 8mbps in urban areas and companies should be able to have capacity of upto 100mbps on demand,” Mr Ibrahim Bosa, UCC spokesperson.